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Raising Hope

By Phil Gianficaro News columnist

The sadness hits like a bomb. It arrives screaming from nowhere and explodes in his soul.

Sometimes, it’s triggered while he’s driving and a song plays on the radio that his big brother Joel used to love. Other times, sadness envelops him for no reason except that, well, he just misses him terribly. A lump forms in his throat, and he loses a fight against tears.

But each time the bomb drops, Johnathan Gingras imagines his big brother’s reassuring voice telling him, “Suck it up! I’m doing just fine up here.”

The Gingrases are doing just fine down here for their brother and son up there, who died from a malignant brain tumor in 1988 at age 27. They feed off his spirit. They honor his memory with the Joel A. Gingras Jr. Memorial Foundation, or the JAG Fund, that since its founding in 1989 has raised research funding by organizing fun-filled tube floats on the Delaware River, golf outings, black-tie galas and more to help eradicate the disease that stole him from them so many years ago. Total money raised? More than $1.5 million to benefit the American Brain Tumor Association’s research and awareness program.

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The Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Memorial Foundation
Receives the Distinguished Partner in Hope Award

The Joel A. Gingras, Jr. Memorial Foundation (JAG Fund) was honored with the Distinguished Partner in Hope
Award during Penn Medicine’s Brain Tumor Patient Conference entitled Discovery to Recovery – News You
Can Use. This conference was hosted by the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania in
Philadelphia on October 11, 2013 at the Hilton Hotel on City Line Avenue in Philadelphia. The JAG Fund was
honored for their continued contributions to brain tumor advocacy and research. The Partner in Hope Award
is presented to an individual or organization to recognize the difference they have made in cancer
awareness, research or patient care in our community and beyond.
The JAG Fund was created by Johnathan Gingras in 1989 after the loss of his brother, Joel, to a brain tumor.

Since its inception, the JAG Fund has been dedicated to raising money for a cure for brain tumors and all
money raised is donated annually to the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). Through the untiring
help of family, friends and faithful contributors, the JAG Fund has reached significant milestones. The ABTA
has created medical fellowships in Joel’s name and, to date, the JAG Fund has funded 20 of these fellowships.
These fellowships have been a significant aid in supporting brain tumor research.

“It’s quite an honor to receive this award,” said Johnathan Gingras,
President of the JAG Fund. “Our goal is simple, we want to raise
money to support research, we want to create awareness,
and we want to remember my brother Joel.”

The Abramson Cancer Center hosts informative, day-long educational conferences on many specific types of cancer. The only conferences of their kind in the region, they serve as an interactive forum where cancer
patients, survivors and families can learn about the latest advances in prevention, treatment and research
and actively engage with the Cancer Center’s expert faculty and staff.

“Over the years, the JAG Fund has been the backbone of the
American Brain Tumor Association. They have donated over $1.5 million
dollars from family and community support. That is astounding,” said
Dr. Steven Brem, Chief, Surgical Neuro-Oncology at Penn Medicine.


Prestigious national award honors Doylestown resident

April 3, 2013 - Doylestown, PA - The Intelligencer /

DOYLESTOWN — At this year’s Joel A. Gingras Gala in Philadelphia on March 23, recipients of the 2013 Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award given by The American Brain Tumor Association were announced.

Louis and Phyllis Jacobs of Kansas were acknowledged for their support of brain tumor patients and families in their community and brain tumor research funding initiatives. The award will be presented to the Jacobs at ABTA’s annual meeting dinner to be held July 26 in Chicago.

The award was established by the association in 2010 to recognize an individual, organization or group active in philanthropy, advocacy, discovery or patient care and to recognize The Joel A. Gingras Jr. Memorial Foundation’s work, which to date has raised $1.4 million. Joel Gingras Jr., was a Doylestown resident who succumbed to the disease as a young man.

The Jacobs’ son, Matthew, was diagnosed in 1987 at age 11 and died when he was 24. Twice a year, Phyllis Jacobs lectures at Wichita State University, where she is a director of nursing. The topic is about starting and sustaining support groups for people with cancer. Together, the Jacobs have been involved with the local brain tumor community through a support group for 14 years.

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